Did you know that the Hallmark Channel is premiering 40 original movies during this year’s “Countdown to Christmas”? This record-breaking number is just an example of the love viewers have for these classic movies. In fact, Lifetime is now catching onto this craze that began on Hallmark in 2009, but that’s another story. Shortly before Halloween, and going up through the New Year, the Hallmark Channel shows nonstop, 24/7 Christmas movies. That’s right, you can wake up in the middle of the night and a Christmas movie will be on. This extensive marathon is another reason why people love all of the “Countdown to Christmas” movies. So, what exactly about these films make them so beloved? Let’s take a look.
- Hallmark Channel prides itself on showing Christmas movies that are carefree, family-friendly, and tell a happy holiday story. If there is a conflict in the show, it is solved within two hours. After all, isn’t this what many people want to watch during the holidays? A happy, joyful movie without any sadness, cursing, or violence? Think about the beloved Christmas classics, such as Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life. These films draw viewers back to the meaning of the holidays, just like the “Countdown to Christmas” movies do.
- As mentioned above, Hallmark movies are family-friendly, for any age. Parents and guardians can feel safe to sit down and watch a story about a town struggling to carry on their annual Christmas festival without having to hide their young children’s eyes. Viewers, young and old, can all enjoy a meaningful holiday movie together. Some of my favorite memories include watching Hallmark Christmas shows with my grandmother.
- There is a sense of familiarity and comfort with Hallmark’s simple yet predictable format. The holidays are all about traditions, reminiscing about old memories, and spending time with loved ones, family and friends. Within the first five minutes of most “Countdown to Christmas” movies, a viewer can guess what will happen and how the movie will end. However, as part of this predictable format, a person knows the main character will have supporters, such as family members or friends, a happy ending, and moments of doubt and hope. These movies’ plots reflect this time of the year and its “values.” Some may call them “cheesy,” but don’t we all love cheesy movies?
- Another resemblance to the holidays, these movies are mainly set in a winter-wonderland, a.k.a. they are shot in Vancouver, Canada. All the elements of a true Christmas story are included. We see actors and actresses sipping on hot chocolate, eating Christmas cookies, decorating Christmas trees, walking through snow while bundled up in sweaters, boots, and scarves. “Countdown to Christmas” movies describe what most people think and want for a perfect holiday. They fill a void in a person’s life.
- While a majority of the movie is perfect, there is always a conflict or challenge the main character goes through that viewers can connect with. Whether it is getting downsized, losing your Christmas spirit, or being disconnected from a family member, the Hallmark Channel takes these situations and turns them into the positive. Therefore, the audience members, who might be dealing with similar challenges, are given hope.
Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” movie marathon is a unique and special tradition, especially for a cable television station. Every year, millions of people feel at home, watching these classic and family-friendly Christmas films. In the article “Why the Hallmark Channel’s Popularity Is Growing Despite Cable Cutters,” author Rachel Carrington states, “There’s a reason why the channel refers to itself as the Heart of TV. There is little ugliness to be found on these shows and movies. You can always find a smile on the faces of the characters, even though there may be some tears as well. But there’s not a lot of arguing and disagreements. What disappointment you find is often fleeting, as is the sadness, because Hallmark knows we watch to be uplifted. Hallmark Channel is, indeed, a happy place.”